Traditionally hosted at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN, the seventh annual “Gretsch Presents Georgia On My Mind” concert benefiting the Georgia Music Foundation will reach a global audience this year with an online musical event Tuesday, May 26 (8:00 PM/ET; 7:00 PM/CT) hosted by Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls and artist/songwriter Brent Cobb. Directed by photographer/filmmaker Curtis Wayne Millard, “Gretsch Presents Georgia On My Mind” will be streamed on Facebook.com/Georgiamusic and at GeorgiaMusicFoundation.org.
Dallas Davidson, Rhett Akins, and Ben Hayslip, who write hit songs together as the Peach Pickers, initiated and hosted the first “Georgia On My Mind” event seven years ago to support the Georgia Music Foundation, which Davidson chairs. “We never dreamed it would keep going nor that it would eventually send more than $500,000 back home to support music education,” he said. “We’ve had a great run, but Ben, Rhett, and I decided it was the right time to let other Georgia musicians host to keep things fresh and we couldn’t be happier that our friend Brent and Amy graciously agreed to step up to the plate.”
Cobb and Ray were curating the lineup together when in March, music tours halted and venues temporarily shut down due to COVID-19. “With concerns for public safety top of mind, we cancelled the as-yet-unannounced Ryman date, but Amy and Brent were totally up for reimagining it as an online affair,” said Lisa Love, Director of the Georgia Music Foundation.
Ray said, “This is an unprecedented time, where we are united in our isolation and yearning to connect through music. For Brent and I to come together and host a lineup of artists from across the state of Georgia in a format that can be widely shared is a huge honor for both of us.”
Participating artists include: Caroline Aiken, Tony Arata, John Berry, Kristian Bush’s band Dark Water, Amy Grant, Rutha Harris, John Driskell Hopkins, Indigo Girls, Kalen & Aslyn, Chuck Leavell, Kim Michael Polote, Katie Pruitt, The War & Treaty, Channing Wilson, Jontavious Willis, Adam Wright, and more to be announced. JUST ANNOUNCED: Brandi Carlile, Butch Walker, Caylee Hammack, Kevn Kinney, Michelle Malone and Adam Hood.
The 2020 online event marks the third year that the global musical instruments company, Gretsch—which has its corporate headquarters in Pooler, Georgia—has presented the benefit concert. CFO and Executive Vice-President Dinah Gretsch said, “As a Georgia Music Foundation board member, I see year-round what a vital impact that our grants make on music programs across the state. Fred and I are pleased that our continued sponsorship of Georgia On My Mind furthers our family’s mission to enrich lives through participation in music.”
Amy Ray: Back in high school in Atlanta, Amy Ray teamed up with friend Emily Saliers to form a duo that would become the Indigo Girls. Rooted in shared passions for harmony and justice, the pair has forged a career spanning 20 albums and combining artistry and activism to push against every boundary and box anyone tries to put them in. On May 22, the Indigo Girls will release Look Long, their first studio album in five years. On her own, Ray has released six solo studio albums and three live ones, from the political punk of 2001’s Stag, to the feminist Americana of 2018’s Holler. Each effort seems to lean into her influences in different ways, whether it’s the Allman Brothers or the Carter Family. Ray continues to run Daemon Records, the non-for-profit label she formed in 1990 to support grassroots artists including Kristen Hall, the Rock-A-Teens and more. With Daemon, as with everything she does, Ray aims to give something back to the community form which she has gotten so much.
Brent Cobb: From early tunes like “Richland” to the country-funk of his 2018 studio album Providence Canyon, Georgia has always figured prominently in the music of Brent Cobb. Born in Americus, GA, and raised in a musical family in nearby Ellaville, the singer/songwriter’s 2016 breakthrough, major-label debut, Shine On Rainy Day, was nominated for a Best Americana Album at the 60th Grammy Awards. That effort, as well as Providence Canyon, which earned praise from Rolling Stone, Fader, and NPR Music, was recorded with his cousin, Grammy-winning producer Dave Cobb. Brent Cobb is also widely respected as a songwriter with cuts garnered by Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Kenny Chesney, and more. In 2019, he toured with Chris Stapleton, headlined his own “Sucker for a Good Time Tour,” and premiered “Come Home Soon,” a video series he called “a love letter to Georgia.” Cobb recently reissued his 2006 independently released album, No Place Left To Leave, on his own Ol’ Buddy Records.